So the holidays have ended and its back to work to pay the bills. Birds have bills too but they just keep on singing. Maybe because they know there is a tasty treat waiting for them in the bird feeder.
More likely its because they understand the patterns and cycles of nature, and know that Spring will be here sooner than we think, no need to fret. They just need to eat and push through the winter till the sun warms up the skies.
In the winter, many birds leave the areas they call home to find more food and shelter and to stay warm. For those birds that do stay in the cold areas it can be difficult to find food. That is where you come in. You can provide food for winter birds in your areas by providing them with some extra nutrition.
Suet blocks are a great way to do that. They are also a great way to use up that extra fat that is left over from cooking meat, instead of just throwing it out. If you don’t eat meat then coconut suet blocks are the way to go.
Its easy to make suet blocks for your backyard bird buddies, just save any meat fat scraps and drippings in the freezer until its time to make a block. Birds love the taste and the fat helps them stay warm.
Mix the melted fat drippings (or coconut oil) with organic or wild birdseed, place it in a mold and let it firm up. You can also make your own birdseed with black sunflower seeds, organic corn meal, and many other items. Be creative!
Please use products that are not genetically modified. It doesn’t make much sense to feed wildlife things that will harm them, or their offspring. Genetically modified items do just that-harm them!
Also, make sure that if you use items like peanut butter or processed products that it is made from natural sources, nothing with xylitol or other chemicals. Again, this can harm the animals. Stay with pure ingredients, simple is better for wildlife, you, and your planet.
Once the suet is solid remove it from the mold and hang the block in a nearby tree. I like to keep it near a window where I can watch the birds have a snack and dance around. They really do seem to appreciate the easy food treat.
You may get a visit or two from a local squirrel but don’t worry about that, they need food too and just think about all the nuts (tree seeds) they plant for you in the garden. I like to think of squirrels as the forest planners of tomorrow, and boy oh boy do we need them!
There are tons of recipes to make suet. Check out our Pinterest page here for many of them. Again, try to replace processed ingredients with their natural counterparts. The recipes are good guidelines but feel free to improvise. If you have seeds or berries that fall from local trees include them in your suet. It will save you money and give the birds the much needed nutrients they need. Check first to make sure they are bird friendly and not harmful to the birds or other animals.
Just one caution, look up any seed you collect in your yard or contact your local Master Gardener office to make sure those seeds and berries are not invasive. Birds do a great job of dispersing seeds in their fertile poo. The last thing you want to do is help an invasive tree population increase by giving the birds those seeds.
So even if you have some bills, just keep on singing…. and give some suet to the birds!
Happy New Year!